The Brooklyn Nets will hold their press conference to announce the Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce trade on Thursday, but the Celtics held their own conference on Monday where their general manager Danny Ainge explained how and why the deal went down. The main takeaway — the Nets were going to stop at nothing to get better this offseason.
“Brooklyn showed a great deal of interest in putting the ‘Dream Team’ together, with expense not [a factor], at any cost it seemed like,” Ainge said at Monday’s presser. “And the opportunity to acquire a lot of young assets and get younger and move onto a different phase presented itself. We felt like, where we were as a team, it was going to be very difficult to be a championship contender [had] we kept Paul and KG.
“The opportunity presented itself. It’s a situation we needed to do. It’s a situation that Brooklyn should do and could do, adding Paul and KG to a roster with already three All-Star type players. It’s a pretty special opportunity for them, even though it’s very expensive.”
Expensive indeed. The Nets payroll is now up over $100 million and with luxury tax fees it is expected that they will pay somewhere close to $185 million this season overall. Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is determined to win a championship and took drastic measures to improve the team.
“You don’t really want to trade to a division rival but no, there were no other teams that were even close,” Ainge admitted. “As a matter of fact, it was interesting that the offers we got for Paul and KG were greater than we got for them in years past. It was an opportunity we felt we had to jump at.”
The Nets basically got Garnett and Pierce for MarShon Brooks, a bad contract (Gerald Wallace) an expiring contract (Kris Humphries), a nobody (the Celtics have already released Kris Joseph), and three first round picks that hopefully won’t be that good anyway if the Nets can be consistent winners over the next five years (the Nets also got Jason Terry and D.J. White). So I’m not sure what Ainge is talking about in getting some great opportunity.
People said that because of the Nets payroll that it was going to be hard for them to make any significant changes. Well, they were clearly wrong. The Nets were determined to get better this offseason and they have. Now when is going to be October already?
Watch: Part of the Celtics’ press conference: